Mushohwe under fire

Parliament is considering charging Information minister Christopher Mushohwe with contempt after he rubbished Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s proposals in the mid-term fiscal review, to suspend civil servants’ bonuses and other benefits.

Source: Mushohwe under fire – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 5, 2016

BY Veneranda Langa

Debate on the mid-term fiscal review was suspended in the National Assembly yesterday to allow for investigations to be carried out on whether Mushohwe should be charged.

MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga raised the issue as a point of order, saying Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda should make a ruling over whether it was Mushohwe who acted in contempt of Parliament, or that Chinamasa might have read a wrong mid-term review statement that was not approved by Cabinet resulting in divergent statements.

“We had Chinamasa presenting to us the mid-term fiscal statement and a few days later we also had a notice by Mushohwe in which he purported to be acting on behalf of the President and Cabinet in connection with proposals on reduction of salaries and allowances of civil servants, suspension of bonuses, taxation of allowances for civil servants, introduction of the vehicle loan scheme and imports of maize, saying they were not agreed to by Cabinet.

“Given those events and that we as Parliament had to listen to the Minister of Finance’s mid-term statement, which is now being contested by another minister, can we have Mr Speaker’s ruling in terms of procedure?” Misihairabwi-Mushonga queried.

She expressed fear that the mid-term fiscal review statement might be withdrawn from Parliament like what happened when President Robert Mugabe presented a wrong speech during the State of the Nation Address, which was later withdrawn.

Mudenda said the issue needed further probing.

“I beg your indulgence to allow the Chair to study the very complicated issues you raised, and, therefore, the motion on the mid-term policy review statement is suspended until we have studied the objections,” Mudenda said.

Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T)also raised another matter of privileges regarding Mugabe’s official opening of Parliament tomorrow, saying in terms of the new Constitution, the President cannot impose himself and officiate at the occasion without an invitation from MPs.

Mudenda quashed Chamisa’s point, saying even after the new Constitution was passed in 2013, the opposition never raised any objections over Mugabe officially opening Parliament up to 2015.

“The contestation has been overtaken by practice, and that practice was never contested and the proclamation made by the President makes reference to a resolution made by the two Houses that the President should officiate,” he said.